Opinion | Let us be inspired by Jonas

Today we buried our dear friend Jonas Sekyere Thomsen, who ten days ago was stabbed to death in a nightclub in Copenhagen. Peter, after resuscitating Jonas temporarily before the ambulance arrived, told him: “Jonas, you have not lived in vain. I will make sure that your visions become reality.”

We shall remember and live by Peter’s words for the rest of our lives. Making Jonas’s visions a reality is, without doubt, the greatest task we have ever undertaken, and it is one we need your help to complete.

Jonas was in every way an exceptional young man. He fought for a better world, and he did so in every aspect of his life. He loved and was committed to his fellow human beings like no other. His aim was to create a world that was more tolerant of other people’s differences and allowed people the freedom to be who they were. He showed us that the essence of life is to take good care of those who are in need of help. This is what he devoted his short life to. This is why his life has not been in vain.

Reading his contributions to newspaper opinion pages, it is immediately evident that he was concerned about the world’s most vulnerable groups. He had a special place in his heart for Africa, the continent of his father’s birth, and he believed that the creation of a strong African union would contribute to the cohesion that is necessary for improving the lives of people on the continent. He remained, to the day of his death, a strong advocate of intensifying our focus on the on-going conflicts of the Middle East, and he was deeply concerned about the most recent conflict in Gaza. 

Jonas’s engagement with the world around him was special because he had an ability to always be attentive to those who were in his presence. He was always concerned about how his friends and relatives were doing, and he never turned them away when they needed his help. He had a great ability to take part in other people’s lives and to invite new people into his own life. He made everyone feel like they were someone special. He inspired his friends to live out their dreams, and he planted a seed of hope for our future. 

There was indeed something supernatural about Jonas. He was endowed with a rare passion for life and an ability to care for others. In a way, he was too good to be true. And, somehow, it’s not surprising that he was only granted 21 years among us. He was not quite like the rest of us; he was something better. 

That Jonas was something different from the rest of us became apparent early on in our acquaintance. It was late, and we had just returned home from a party. Suddenly, Jonas runs out from our courtyard, throws open the gate. Just on the other side, there was a woman surrounded by a group of young men apparently ready to attack her. She ran into the safety of the courtyard as Jonas slammed the gate behind her. Astonished, Ayo asked him how he could have known there was a woman out there who needed help. All Jonas could answer was that he could sense that someone was in trouble out on the road. From then on, it was clear to us that Jonas was something out of the ordinary. 

Let us, together, make sure that Jonas’s mission in life is accomplished. Let us commit ourselves to each other, let us care about each other, let us put more energy and resources into helping the poor, let us do more to assist the victims of war, let us do more to make peace, let us do more to protect the social welfare system that embraces disadvantaged children. Let us promise each other that Jonas did not live in vain.

The authors were friends and roommates of slain law student Jonas Thomsen Sekyere.